Volume 9, No. 11 - January 7, 2016
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

2015: Year in Review

What's New

 AIA Northern Virginia celebrates completion of its 41st year with several new changes! Founded in 1975 AIA Northern Virginia continues to be a work in progress. The Chapter has changed over the years responding to the challenges of society and each generation and has endured and remained relevant because it changed. The 2015 Board inherited an incredibly strong Chapter and strove to improve upon what our predecessors built. The Board is pleased to report on several new developments the Chapter introduced in 2015, as well as some important announcements. These developments reflect a primary focus this year to enhance our members' AIA experience. They are the result of the dedication and hard work of many people.

Online Referral System – So potential clients can easily find information about our local firms, AIA Northern Virginia developed a new sortable web-based referral system available on our website. This offers clients the opportunity to search for architects in 20 different specialties and then link directly to firm websites to learn more.

Architecture Lab – In education news, the Chapter started a new committee, Architecture Lab, which provides educational programs for students in elementary through high schools in the Northern Virginia community. Volunteers work with students and teachers to promote analytical, critical thinking and creative skills through architectural design. Chaired by Elma Hajric Willcoxon, Associate AIA, the committee plans programs and activities like Architecture in the Schools and career day presentations. Architecture Lab advances our goals of connecting with the public and enhancing the public's understanding of what architects do. We are delighted to have Elma leading this critically important effort.

Women In Architecture Website – WIA is one of our most active committees. The intense range of their monthly events and programs created a need for a WIA website. Penelope Peralta, Associate AIA took the lead for developing content for the committee and Matt Shuba, Associate AIA, designed the website, which launched in June.

2017 AIA Women's Leadership Summit – In other WIA news, we are pleased to announce that our WIA Committee has been selected to host the 2017 AIA Women's Leadership Summit, a two-day conference to support women in leadership roles. WIA has reached out to other local and regional chapters to help plan the Summit and the selection committee noted the incredible scope of collaboration presented in the proposal. Congratulations to WIA Chair Jo Anne Murray, AIA and her team for their hard work in preparing the winning proposal. Watch for more details and opportunities to volunteer in 2016.

ARE Award – The Northern Virginia ARE Prep Series was awarded the Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) ARE Excellence Award at the 2015 CACE Annual Meeting in Detroit. Selected from among chapters nationwide, our chapter was recognized "for designing a comprehensive ARE Prep Program that prepares emerging professionals for the ARE exam and at the same time offers AIA CE credits." Congratulations to our Young Architects Forum co-chairs Anna Barbour Nolan, AIA and Spencer Lepler, AIA and their committee for planning such an outstanding ARE program.

Mail-in Ballots – In order to engage more members in the voting process, the Board approved voting for officers and directors by ballots completed and mailed to the Chapter House prior to the Annual Meeting. Hopefully this will encourage members who are unable to attend the meeting in person to vote.

Graduated Dues Program – The Board approved the introduction of a three-year graduated dues model for newly licensed associate members transitioning to full Architect membership effective with the 2016 dues cycle. This program encourages and supports our Associate members to become licensed, while helping to ease the financial burden of upgrading their membership to Architect. The idea was introduced and approved at the national level at the 2015 convention, followed by approval by both AIA Virginia and AIA Northern Virginia.

AIAKinetic – The AIA's Small Firm Roundtable (SFRT) launched AIAKinetic, an online social, professional and education network for architects and allied professionals. "It's an empowering tool," says Chapter member Brian J. Frickie, AIA and SFRT chair. "You're going to learn about best business practices; you're going to be able to contribute by rating and commenting on the articles and with AIAKinetic you can earn points that you can cash in for purchases from the AIA."

Sponsorship Initiative – In 2015 the Board launched the "Partner Program" to enhance sponsor participation with the Chapter by offering the ability to customize benefits the Partner receives. This effort was led by 2014 Chapter President, Ed Weaver, AIA, who developed the program with Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA and the Executive Committee.

Sustainability Agreement with Big Sibs Chapters – At the Big Sibs annual meeting in October in Portland, Oregon, we discussed the AIA's Sustainability Strategy and how Big Sibs Chapters could contribute to re-energizing sustainability in our Chapters and the communities we serve. A Sustainability Agreement among the Big Sibs Chapters emerged from these discussions and the Board is currently discussing the document.

Thanks to the hard work and contributions of many people, 2015 was a successful year for the Chapter. It has been a privilege to serve as an officer and 2015 Chapter President and I am grateful to the 2011 Board for giving me this chance. This has been a very special opportunity as I have seen first-hand the great benefits the Chapter provides to our members and the public we serve.

There are so many people to thank, but I will make it brief. I would like to thank all the past presidents I spoke with whose fellowship, experience and wisdom encouraged me. Thank you to the Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Committee Chairs for their leadership. It was a pleasure to collaborate with so many fine people, all dedicated volunteers who gave of their time and energy so generously. Thank you to Lorin Boswell and Matt Shuba whose positive attitudes, hard work and unwavering support behind the scenes make our Chapter stronger. Finally, I want to thank Debbie Burns. I appreciate Debbie's graciousness for the additional ExCom meetings and impromptu phone calls. I will always remember and admire the sense of love Debbie instills into all that she does to make the Chapter better, stronger and more effective for our members and the larger communities the Chapter serves. Debbie's contributions to the Chapter in 2015 are substantial, more than many will ever know. We are all very grateful.

    -- Sean E. Reilly, AIA, 2015 Chapter President

Advocacy and AIA Repositioning

AIA Northern Virginia participated in the 2015 AIA Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference held in Washington, DC March 4-6. Rhea George, Deputy Director of AIA Virginia, Chapter President Sean Reilly, AIA and Board Member Morgan Danner, Associate AIA took three issues to our Representatives on the Hill to advocate for architects and exchange ideas to promote AIA in the federal agenda. They met with Congressman Don Beyer from District 8 and staff from the office of Congresswoman Barbara Comstock from District 10. Although a winter storm prevented a planned meeting with Congressman Connelly, issue briefs were shared with his office. And while the legislative efforts will remain based here in Washington, we look forward to this year's Grassroots Leadership Conference which will be held in Detroit, Michigan.

 As Vice President of Government Advocacy at AIA Virginia, Bill Brown, AIA continued to track and advise on legislative issues in Richmond that support our profession and Chapter members. Sean Reilly also joined Bill's efforts and participated with the AIA Virginia PAC in protecting Qualifications Based Selection, limiting the expansion of Job Order Contracting and working to protect Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

Repositioning calls on each of us to become regular ambassadors for our profession and the tremendous good it can bring to all people through architecture. Throughout the course of the year, the Board investigated a possible restructuring, however it was determined that the current structure is already its most nimble and efficient. As part of the repositioning and in alignment with AIA National, AIA Northern Virginia worked with the other local components and AIA Virginia to address how best to serve our members. On Friday, December 11, the local and state chapter presidents came together in Richmond to sign the memorandum of understanding developed through these statewide conversations. The intent is to ensure that Core Member Services are delivered to all AIA members within Virginia and to record the intention of all parties to work together toward that effort and outcome – with a spirit of collaboration, cooperation and communication. In the coming year, AIA Northern Virginia will continue the repositioning efforts to engage the public and elevate their understanding of what we do, to elevate the conversation and become a more effective voice in the region and to provide the most benefits to the Chapter members.

    -- Meagan W. Jancy, AIA, 2016 Chapter President

Activities and Events

With an emphasis on member communication and outreach, the Chapter activities of 2015 were successful and widely attended. In the newly remodeled Chapter House, with more room for congregating, we celebrated Mardi Gras, featuring Cajun food and our always popular Hurricanes. This year's Design Awards Celebration at the Fred W. Smith National Library, adjacent to Mount Vernon, recognized 21 award winners. Promoting design excellence, we prominently displayed the winning projects on our annual Design Awards Gallery. Our 40th annual Chapter Meeting, at Maggiano's in Tysons Galleria, recognized many award recipients including Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA with our Award of Honor. Our 13th annual Canstruction® competition entertained thousands at Reagan Washington National airport, raising over $43,000 and donating 23,395 pounds of food to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Our website is continuing to deepen with new committee web pages. Our enthusiastic committees, often in collaboration with each other, were very active this year:
  • The Architecture in the Schools Program has been rebranded Architecture Lab and is developing new programs and broadening outreach to K-12 schools.
  • The Continuing Education Committee and Small Firm Roundtable planned informative seminars from roofing trends to financial matters.
  • CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network), a collaborative committee of the three local AIA chapters, supported architects through educational programs including product seminars and construction tours.
  • COTE (Committee on the Environment) offered a very informative seminar on zero net energy buildings.
  • The Historic Resources Committee organized the incredibly popular walking tour of Alexandria, part of our Architecture Week celebration.
  • The Schools Connections Committee organized career panels and portfolio reviews for local architecture students, took the lead in organizing the Interschool Design Competition at the National Building Museum and awarded 3 scholarships to local students.
  • Women in Architecture highlights include a lecture series, clothing drive for Dress for Success, Spa Night benefiting the National Breast Center, a family picnic and their always popular monthly happy hours.
  • The Young Architects Forum once again organized our outstanding ARE Prep series, hosted regular happy hours, a party for our newly licensed members, an evening at Nat's Park with the Structural Engineers Association and co-sponsored a successful 360 mentoring program with WIA, Schools Connections and our Fellows committees.
    -- Theresa del Ninno, AIA, 2015 Secretary

Financial Outlook

The Chapter has finished 2015 in a strong financial position. Thanks to the Chapter leadership, the budget was maintained and the year will close with a surplus. To add to our financial health, the Chapter has been able to maintain a healthy reserve fund of more the 65% of our annual expenses. Below are summary charts showing the income and expenses of the Chapter for years 2014, 2015 and proposed 2016 budget broken down by type – dues/expenses, fundraising events, professional development and public awareness.

Due to all the hard work of many, through our fundraising events such as design awards, we have continued to close the gap between our membership dues income and our annual operating expenses. In 2016 we will be looking at more ways to further reduce the gap between our income and operating expenses.

    -- Karen M. Conkey, AIA, 2015 Treasurer

Our Volunteers

 As our committees are the most direct interface that the Chapter has with the members and other constituencies (the public, students, emerging professionals, etc.), the committee chairs are key to some of the most important work we do. To say that they are the unsung heroes of the Chapter is really to acknowledge that it is high time we sing their praises. We want to thank those who have completed years of service to the Chapter, and welcome our new committee chairs and thank them for stepping up to serve. Over the year, the following changes have taken place:
  • Architecture Lab (formerly Architecture in the Schools): chaired by Elma Hajric Willcoxon, Associate AIA.
  • School Connections: Monica Perez, Associate AIA is taking over as Chair following the relocation of co-chair Jakki Devereaux, AIA.
  • Honors and Nominations: As immediate past president, Sean Reilly, AIA will take over for Scott Matties, AIA, who leaves the Board after seven years.
We are so very grateful for the dedication and service of those retiring committee chairs and hope that everyone will lend their support and appreciation for those taking on new and important roles with the Chapter.

We also want to recognize and thank those who are continuing in their committee leadership. We want to acknowledge that these dedicated folks need some help. The coming year offers many opportunities to engage (or re-engage) with the Chapter by working with Committees.
  • Community Service/Canstruction: Lisa Lettieri, AIA and Jay Scruggs, AIA
  • Continuing Education: Carter Jones, AIA
  • CRAN: Randy Mars, AIA (chair) and Thea Scott Fundling, AIA (co-chair)
  • Design Awards: Stephen Wakeman, AIA (chair), Manoj Dalaya, AIA and J. Paul Lewis, AIA (co-chairs)
  • COTE: Jin Soo Park, AIA (chair) and David Shirey, AIA (co-chair)
  • Fellows: Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA
  • Golf Tournament: Baird Smith, FAIA
  • Historic Resources: John Burns, FAIA
  • Legislative/Government Affairs: Bill Brown, AIA
  • Small Firms: David Chan, AIA and Stephen Kulinski, AIA
  • Women in Architecture: Jo Anne Murray, AIA
  • Young Architects Forum: Anna Barbour Nolan, AIA and Spencer Lepler, AIA
At our 2015 Annual Meeting in October, we elected a very accomplished and dedicated Board of Directors for AIA Northern Virginia and our representatives to AIA Virginia.

2016 AIA Northern Virginia Board

Executive Committee:
  • President – Meagan W. Jancy, AIA
  • President Elect/1st VP – Karen M. Conkey, AIA
  • Treasurer – Theresa P. del Ninno, AIA
  • Secretary – T.J. Meehan, AIA
  • Past President – Sean E. Reilly, AIA
Directors: Christopher S. Kehde, AIA; Spencer E. Lepler, AIA; Kathryn T. Prigmore, FAIA; Manoj V. Dalaya, AIA; Morgan B. Danner, Associate AIA; Jody Gibson, AIA; F. Carter Jones, AIA; Joseph B. McCoy, AIA; Jin Soo Park, AIA; Jay Scruggs, AIA; Stephen R. Wakeman, AIA; and Edward D. Weaver, AIA.

2016 AIA Virginia Directors: John A. Burns, FAIA; Al Cox, FAIA; Spencer E. Lepler, AIA; Randall A. Mars, AIA; and Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA.

Thank you to those stepping down from office:
  • Chapter Director – Rachel Williams-Clark, Associate AIA
  • VA AIA Director – Brian Donnelly, AIA
  • VA AIA Director – Beth Reader, FAlA who is moving on to serve as a Vice President of AIA Virginia
    -- Scott Matties, AIA, 2015 Past President and Honors & Nominations Chair

Looking Forward to 2016

To start the year, our January calendar features several committee and board meetings as we plan our 2016 events and five ARE Prep classes to help our members get licensed this year. Social events include our Architecture in the Schools exhibit, a Women in Architecture Happy Hour and a Young Architects Forum Brunch.

Mark your calendars for the Chapter's Annual Open House on February 9. Fat Tuesday comes early this year, so don't forget to stop by for some Cajun food.

Our Design Awards Call for Entries will be released in March, with submissions due in late April, and the gala in early June. In 2015 we had 21 winners, so be sure to submit your work this year!

Virginia Architecture Week in April 10-16, so watch for a fun list of activities in Northern Virginia and across the state.

As always, we will offer a wide range of continuing education sessions from our Small Firm Roundtable to our Lunch Series. We also plan to develop online courses this year.

It's easy to keep up with Chapter activities. Just check the front page of our website at www.aianova.org for our current calendar, see the calendar in each issue of BLAST, sync to our Google calendar at www.aianova.org/calendar.php and watch for our new mobile site to launch in 2016.

    -- Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA, Executive Director

Now It's Your Turn

Take full advantage of your AIA membership and become an active member in 2016!

The Chapter offers you the opportunity to make a significant difference for yourself, your community and the profession as a whole. We need your participation!

Learn more on our website. Let us know what we can do for you and where you would like to help. Contact us at (703) 549-9747 or aianova@aianova.org.

Membership Renewal Information

 Your 2016 AIA invoice is due by January 15 and can be paid online, by phone, by mail, by fax or by a dues installment plan. Specific instructions are included with your invoice and additional information is available on the AIA website.
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